Eighth place! Eighth place! Eighth place! That is what the Nets are right now, the eight seed in the brutal Eastern Conference. How much do we care that the East lacks talent at the bottom of the conference? Not very much, because the Nets are the least inept of the four teams at the bottom right now fighting for one spot.
Here are the facts: The Nets are in eighth place, and stand a half-game ahead of Boston and Indiana (Brooklyn plays one more game than both of these teams). Behind those two, Charlotte is a half game behind the ninth seeds, one game behind Brooklyn. It is all so close, but Brooklyn is ahead right now.
As Brian Fleurantin pointed out in his tiebreakers article, the Nets aren't so safe if it comes down to a tie. Here are some outlined:
- The Nets are tied with the Pacers right now in their season series, and Tuesday will decide who wins it. A Nets win Tuesday, they get the all so important tiebreaker over Indiana.
- Boston has won the season series against the Nets. If a tie between the two come after game 82, Boston goes to the playoffs. The Nets take out the golf clubs.
- Brooklyn's big win over Charlotte on Wednesday got them the season series over the Hornets, which will play a huge factor as the season winds down.
Playoffstatus.com gives the Nets a 10% at catching Miami for the seventh seed, and a 1% chance at snagging the sixth from Milwaukee. Why not just look at what would happen if the Nets stay hot and they catch the two teams in front of them.
- Brooklyn got swept by Miami this season. They are a game-and-a-half behind the defending Eastern Conference champs as of Monday morning, but make that two-and-a-half due to the tiebreaker.
- Brooklyn is three-and-a-half back of Milwaukee with 10 to play, so that isn't going to happen, and the Nets are down 2-1 in the season series with one more game left between the team on April 12.
The Nets aren't out of the woods just yet. The team has the hardest schedule of all Eastern Conference teams down the stretch, according to Playoffstatus.com. Two of the final 10 games come against teams out of the playoff race (New York and Orlando). They play Atlanta twice more, who have been resting their players as they are firmly in the one seed in the East. Conversely, the Hawks would like the Nets to fall into the lottery. Seven of the final 10 come in the (not so) friendly confines of the Barclays Center and one of their road games, vs. the Knicks, doesn't involve getting on a plane or sleeping in a hotel.
So, it's not over yet—Playoffstatus.com gives the team a 31% chance to hold onto the eighth seed, Hollinger's playoff odds say 38.8, but has them missing the playoffs to Indiana. Still, the Nets are in the drivers seat until they're not. And over the last 10 games, they are 7-3, second in the East to the Cavaliers and a lot better than their competition. The Celtics are 5-5, but the Hornets and Pacers are both 3-7.